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Full text of "126146785 Aaron H Swartz FBI File"

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(Rev. 05-01-2008) 



UNCLASSIFIED 

FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION 



Precedence : ROUTINE 

To : Chicago 

From: Washington Field 
CR-17 / NVRA 
Contact : SA 



Attn: 



Date: 

North RA 



02/06/2009 



Approved By 

Drafted By: 

Case ID #: 288A-WF-238943 

Title 



be 

hlC 
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(Pending) 



UNSUB(S); 

US COURTS - VICTIM; 

COMPUTER INTRUSION - OTHER 



Synopsis: To set lead to locate Aaron Swartz, 



Enclosure (s) : Attached is an 



Report for Swartz. 



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Details: The U.S. Courts implemented a pilot project offering 
free access to federal court records through the PACER system at 
seventeen federal depository libraries. Library personnel 
maintain login and password security and provide access to users 
from computers within the library. PACER normally carries an 
eight cents per page fee, however, by accessing from one of the 
seventeen libraries, users may search and download data for free. 

Between September 4, 2008 and September 22, 2008, PACER 
was accessed by computers from outside the library utilizing 
login information from two libraries participating in the pilot 
project. The Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts reported 
that the PACER system was being inundated with requests. One 
request was being made every three seconds. 

The login information was compromised at the Sacramento 
County Public Law Library (SPLL) and the Seventh Circuit Court of 
Appeals Library (SCCA) . The two accounts were responsible for 
downloading more than eighteen million pages with an approximate 
value of $1.5 million. 



UNCLASSIFIED 



UNCLASSIFIED 

To: Chicago From: Washington Field 
Re: 288A-WF-238943, 02/06/2009 



During the compromise, there was one continuous session 
with one log in and access was made every one to two seconds. 
The compromise took place during regular business hours. Data 
that was exfiltrated went to one of two Amazon IP addresses. 

Investigation has determined that the Amazon IP address 
used to access the PACER system belongs to Aaron Swartz. 



address : 



The following information was provided for the IP 



Name: Aaron Swartz 

Address: 34 9 Marshman Avenue 

Highland Park, IL 60035 
Telephone: 847-432-8857 



A search in and Swartz 's personal webpage 



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confirmed this information. Swartz' s social security account 
number is 360-84-049 3 . The telephone subscriber for telephone 
numbe r I li s 



be 

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NCIC report for Aaron Swartz was negative. A search 
for wages for Swartz at the Department of Labor was negative. 



UNCLASSIFIED 

2 



UNCLASSIFIED 

To: Chicago From: Washington Field 
Re: 288A-WF-238943, 02/06/2009 



LEAD(s) : 

Set Lead 1 : (Action) 

CHICAGO 

AT NORTH RA 

Washington Field Office requests that the North RA 
attempt to locate AARON SWARTZ, his vehicles, drivers license 
information and picture, and others, at 34 9 Marshman Avenue, 
Highland Park, IL 60035. Since SWARTZ is the potential subject 
of an ongoing investigation, it is requested that SWARTZ not be 
approached by Agents . 

If there are any questions or conc erns, please contact 
SA 



♦♦ 



hie 

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UNCLASSIFIED 

3 



(Rev. 05-01-2008) 



UNCLASSIFIED 

FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION 



Precedence : ROUTINE 

To: Chicago 

From: Washington Field 
CR-17 / NVRA 
Contact : SA 



Date: 



02/06/2009 



Attn: 



SSA 



Approved By: 



Drafted By: I 

Case ID #: 288A-WF-238943 

Title 



be 

b7C 
b7F 



(Pending) 



UNSUB(S) ; 

US COURTS - VICTIM; 

COMPUTER INTRUSION - OTHER 



Synopsis: To set lead to locate Aaron Swartz. 
Enclosure (s) : Attached is an 



b7E 



Report for Swartz. 



Details: The U.S. Courts implemented a pilot project offering 
free access to federal court records through the PACER system at 
seventeen federal depository libraries. Library personnel 
maintain login and password security and provide access to users 
from computers within the library. PACER normally carries an 
eight cents per page fee, however, by accessing from one of the 
seventeen libraries, users may search and download data for free. 

Between September 4, 2008 and September 22, 2008, PACER 
was accessed by computers from outside the library utilizing 
login information from two libraries participating in the pilot 
project. The Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts reported 
that the PACER system was being inundated with requests. One 
request was being made every three seconds . 

The login information was compromised at the Sacramento 
County Public Law Library (SPLL) and the Seventh Circuit Court of 
Appeals Library (SCCA) . The two accounts were responsible for 
downloading more than eighteen million pages with an approximate 
value of $1.5 million. 



UNCLASSIFIED 



UNCLASSIFIED 

To: Chicago From: Washington Field 
Re: 288A-WF-238 943, 02/06/2009 



During the compromise, there was one continuous session 
with one log in and access was made every one to two seconds. 
The compromise took place during regular business hours. Data 
that was exfiltrated went to one of two Amazon IP addresses. 

Investigation has determined that the Amazon IP address 
used to access the PACER system belongs to Aaron Swartz. 



address: 



The following information was provided for the IP 



Name: Aaron Swartz 

Address: 34 9 Marshman Avenue 

Highland Park, IL 60035 
Telephone: 847-432-8857 

b7E 



A search in Swartz' s personal webpage 



confirmed this information. Swartz ! s social security account be 
number is 360-84-049 3. The telephone subscriber for telephone 
number | | is 



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NCIC report for Aaron Swartz was negative. A search 
for wages for Swartz at the Department of Labor was negative. 



UNCLASSIFIED 

2 



UNCLASSIFIED 

To: Chicago From: Washington Field 
Re: 288A-WF-238943, 02/06/2009 



LEAD(s) : 

Set Lead 1 : (Action) 

CHICAGO 

AT CHICAGO, ILLINOIS 

Washington Field Office requests that Chicago attempt 
to locate AARON SWARTZ, his vehicles, drivers license information 
and picture, and others, at 34 9 Marshman Avenue, Highland Park, 
IL 60035. Since SWARTZ is the potential subject of an ongoing 
investigation, it is requested that SWARTZ not be approached by- 
Agents. 



SA 



Tf there are anv questions or concerns, please contact be 



.h7C 
b7F 



♦♦ 



UNCLASSIFIED 

3 



(Rev. 05-01-2008) 



UNCLASSIFIED 

FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION 



Precedence : ROUTINE 
To: Washington Field 



From: Chicago 

North RA 
Contact : SA 



Date: 02/24/2009 
Attn : CR -17 / NVRA 



SA 



Approved By: 
Drafted By: 



b6 

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Case ID #: 288A-WF-238943 

Title: UNSUB(S) ; 

US COURTS - VICTIM; 
COMPUTER INTRUSION - OTHER 

Synopsis: Lead covered by Chicago North RA 



Enclosure (s) : Illinois PL/ID Image of Swartz and 



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Details: Attempted to locate AARON SWARTZ, his vehicles, drivers 
license information and picture, and others at 34 9 Marshman 
Avenue, Highland Park, IL 60035. 

Successfully located drivers license photo for SWARTZ. 
Drove by address in an attempt to locate SWARTZ or vehicles 
related to the residence, but was unsuccessful. House is set on 
a deep lot, behind other houses on Marshman Avenue. This is a 
heavily wooded, dead-end street, with no other cars parked on the 
road making continued surveillance difficult to conduct without 
severely in creasing t he risk of discovery. However, drivers 
license and I I information lists address above. Other 
family members are listed a s current resi dence and four vehicles 



are currently registered to 

address. Illinois database 

results. SWARTZ has no arrests, no registered vehicles or 

property. 



who resides at above 

checks tor sWARTZ yielded negative 



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UNCLASSIFIED 



UNCLASSIFIED 

To: Washington Field From: Chicago 
Re: 288A-WF-238943, 02/24/2009 



Chicago considers this lead covered. 



-i 



UNCLASSIFIED 

2 



UNCLASSIFIED 

To: Washington Field From: Chicago 
Re: 288A-WF-238943, 02/24/2009 



LEAD(s) : 

Set Lead 1: (Info) 

WASHINGTON FIELD 

AT WASHINGTON DC 
Read and clear. 

♦♦ 



UNCLASSIFIED 

3 



FD-302 (Rev. 10-6-95) 



1- 



FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION 



Date of transcription 02/19/2009 



AARON SWARTZ has a profile on the website LINKEDIN, at 
www. linkedin. com/in/aaronsw. SWARTZ is listed as a writer, hacker 
and activist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. SWARTZ ' s 
education includes Stanford University, Sociology, 2004. SWARTZ f s 
experience includes the following: 

Founder of watchdog.net 
2008 - Present 

Tech Lead at Open Library 
2007 - Present 

Co-founder of reddit 
November 2005 - January 2007 

Metadata Advisor at Creative Commons 
2002 - 2004 

Member of RDF Core Working Group 
1999 - 2000 

Member of W3C 
1999 - 2000 

The website watchdog.net: the good government site with 
teeth states that "We're trying to build a hub for politics on the 
Internet" . This plan includes pulling all information about 
politics, votes, lobbying records, and campaign finance reports 
together under one unified interface. SWARTZ posted blogs on 
07/3 0/2008, 06/16/2008, 05/07/2008, 04/21/2008, 04/16/2008, 
04/14/2008. 

SWARTZ has a profile on the website FACEBOOK. His 
networks include Stanford '08 and Boston, MA. The picture used in 
his profile was also used in an article about SWARTZ in THE NEW 
YORK TIMES. 

SWARTZ 's personal webpage, www. aaronsw. com, includes a 
section titled "Aaron Swartz: a lifetime of dubious 
accomplishments". In 2007, SWARTZ began working full-time as a 



Investigation on 02/15/2009 at ManaSSaS , VA 



File # 288A-WF-238943 
by SA 



Date dictated 



bb 

b7C 

"blF 



This document contains neither recommendations nor conclusions of the FBI. It is the property of the FBI and is loaned to your agency; 
it and its contents are not to be distributed outside your agency. 



FD-302a(Rev. 10-6-95) 



288A-WF-238943 

continuation of fd-302 of SWARTZ ! s online profiles , On 02/15/2009 , Page 

member of the Long-Term Planning Committee for the Human Race 
(LTPCHR) . 



FD-302 (Rev. 10-6-95) 



1 



FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION 



be 

b7C 



Date of transcription 02/19/2009 



On F ebruary 17, 2008, SA | I received an email from 



Administrative Office ot the US Courts, with links 



to two published articles regarding the compromise of the PACER 



system. 



On February 12, 2009, [ 



] published an article 



in THE NEW YORK TIMES titled "An Effort to Upgrade a Court Archive 
System to Fre e and Easy". For the article, I I interviewed 
| | and AARON SWARTZ regarding the compromise of the PACER 

system. 

The following information is found in the article: 



urged fellow activists to go to the seventeen 

libraries offering the free trial, download as many court documents 
as they could, and send them to him for republication on the Web. 



SWARTZ reac£ 



twenty percent (20%) of the PACER database, 



] appeal and downloaded an estimated 



a Government Printing Office official, 



told librarians that the security of the PACER service was 
compromised and the FBI was conducting an investigation. 



no laws , 



Lawyers for 



and SWARTZ told them they had broken 



On February 13, 2009, [ 



]and[ 



] 



published an article in The LEDE, NOTES ON THE NEWS, FROM THE NEW 
YORK TIMES titled "Steal These Federal Records - Okay, Not 
Literally" . 

The following information is found in the article: 



c 



] published an online manifesto about freeing PACER 



documents, where he called for a Thumb Drive Corps to go to 
libraries with small thumb drives, plug them into computers, 
download as many court documents as they could, and send them to 
Iso that he can translate them into a format that GOOGLE'S 



search software can read. 



Investigation on 02/17/2009 at ManaSSaS, VA 



File # 288A-WF-238943 
by 



Date dictated N/A 



SA 



This document contains neither recommendations nor conclusions of the FBI. It is the property of the FBI and is loaned to your agency; 
it and its contents are not to be distributed outside your agency. 



b6 

hlC 

b7F 



FD-302a (Rev. 10-6-95) 



288A-WF-238943 



Continuation of FD-302 of 



.0 2/17/2009 



SWARTZ receiv ed software that downloaded documents from 
the PACER database from[ ~|at the BERKMAN CENTER FOR 



bo 
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INTERNET AND SOCIETY AT HARVARD. SWARTZ improved this software, 
saved it on a thumb drive, and had a friend in California take the 
thumb drive to one of the free libraries and upload the program. 

When the PACER system was shut down with no notice, 
told SWARTZ "You need to talk to a lawyer. I need to talk 



to a lawyer. " 

Lawyers told 
have broken no laws 



. ! , and S WARTZ tha t they appeared to 

At that point, | 1 sent SWARTZ a text 



message saying "You should just lay low for a while." 



FD-302(Rev. 10-6-95) 



-1- 



FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION 



Date of transcription 03/09/2009 



AARON SWARTZ posted a weblog titled "NYT Personals" at 
http://www.aaronsw.com/weblog. In the weblog, SWARTZ quotes the 
NEW YORK TIMES article in which he was interviewed. SWARTZ also 
posts "Want to meet the man behind the headlines? Want to have the 
F.B.I, open up a file on you as well? Interested in some kind of 
bizarre celebrity product endorsement? I'm available in Boston and 
New York all this month" . 



investigation on 03/09/2009 at Manassas, VA 



File # 288A-WF-238943 
by SA 



Date dictated N/A 



bo 
b7C 

hlF 



This document contains neither recommendations nor conclusions of the FBI. It is the property of the FBI and is loaned to your agency; 
it and its contents are not to be distributed outside your agency. 



FD-302 (Rev. 10-6-95) 



he 

hlC 



FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION 



Date of transcription 03/23/2009 



On March 10, 2009 ,| |of THE ADMINISTRATIVE 

OFFICE OF THE US COURTS (US COURTS } provided the following 
information: 

US COURTS was relying on the Notice written on the login 
page of the PACER webpage, pacer.uscourts.gov, to advise users that 
unauthorized access to the PACER system is not allowed. When a^ 
user goes to the webpage and navigates to the login page, a Notice 
is shown at the bottom of the page that states "NOTICE: This is a 
Restricted Government web Site for official PACER use only. 
Unauthorized entry is prohibited and subject to prosecution under 
Title 18 of the U.S. Code. All activities and access attempts are 
logged. " 

When asked to clarify how a user knows what constitutes 
unauthorized access and how a user would have known that they had 
to be in one of the seventeen libraries to access PACER, I H 
had l I prepare a response. 



provided the following information: 



AARON SWARTZ would have known his access was unauthorized 
because it was with a password that did not belong to him. 

Library patrons did not sign up for accounts. One login 
and password were provided to each Federal Depository Library. 
Each library agreed to not share the password with any organization 
or individual user. Verification forms were signed by Depository 
Coordinators at each library and included statements regarding 
login and password security. 

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago had a one 
hour time limit on their public access computer and the computer 
was completely logged off after each session by a staff member. 

[P ACER home page and login page print-outs, emails from 

and | | and Federal Depository Library/PACER 

Verification Forms are attached.] 



Investigation on 03/10/2009 at Manassas, VA 



Fiie# 288A-WF-238943 
by 



Date dictated N/A 



SA 



b6 

b7C 

b7F 



This document contains neither recommendations nor conclusions of the FBI. It is the property of the FBI and is loaned to your agency; 
it and its contents are not to be distributed outside your agency. 



FD-302(Rev. 10-6-95) 



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FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION 



Date of transcription 04/14/2009 



galled (847) 432-8857 in an 

A temale answered the telephone 



On 04/14/2009, SA 
attempt to speak to AARON Swartz 
and stated that SWARTZ was not available at that telephone number 
any longer and that s waptz did n ot have another number where he 
could be reached. SA I I left a message for SWARTZ to return 
her call and the female stated that she would email that message to 
SWARTZ . 



SWARTZ called SA 



and left a message on her 



voicemail stating he could be reached at (847) 877-8895. This 
number is a T-Mobile cellu lar number and returned negative results 



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J spoke to SWARTZ, at telephone number (847) 
that the FBI is looking for information on 



SA 



how SWARTZ was able to compromise the PACER system so that the US 
COURTS could implement repairs to the system and get PACER running 
again. SWARTZ stated t hat he woul d have to talk to his attorney 
first and would call SA 



back at a later time. 



Investigation on 04/14/2009 at Manassas, VA 



Fiie# 288A-WF-238943 



Date dictated N/A 



by SA 



This document contains neither recommendations nor conclusions of the FBI. It is the property of the FBI and is loaned to your agency; 
it and its contents are not to be distributed outside your agency. 



FD-302 (Rev. 10-6-95) 



- 1 



FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION 



b6 

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Date of transcription 04/15/2009 



02^-04/15/2009, SA 



is 



„ | who had left a yoi r?<=>mai 

I telephone number is 



returned a tele phone call to 
mfiflsaa p for SA | | 

[ and his email address 



|asked if the FBI had an official invpshiaaH on 

open or if this was just information gathering. SA 



sal 



responded that there was an open invest igation. | | asked if 

he needed an attorney and SA I Ires pon fled that she could not 



>spond£ 
]told|_ 



that AARON 



advise him on that matter. 

SWARTZ was told in a conversation yesterday that we are looking for 
information into how the comprom ise occurre d so that the US COURTS 

' Z kesponded with "I can not 
a | 1 and 

hat. 



can get PACER operational ag ain. \ 

tell you how Aaron did it." | | was ^^^^ 

understands the security system o£ PACER ana can speaK to t 



Investigation on 04/15/2009 at Manassas, VA 



File # 288A-WF-238943 



Date dictated N/A 



by SA 



This document contains neither recommendations nor conclusions of the FBI. It is the property of the FBI and is loaned to your agency; 
it and its contents are not to be distributed outside your agency. 



FD-302 (Rev. 10-6-95) 



1- 



FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION 



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On 04/16/2009, SA 



Date of transcription 04/16/2009 

returned a telephone cal l to 



in 



Boston, ma. | |want:ea assurance mat it swaktz. was interviewed . 

what he said would not be used to jeopardize him. SA 

explained that assurance coul d not be given but that we were in an 
information gathering phase. I [refused the interview without 
the assurance. ' ' 



investigation on 04/16/2009 at Manassas, VA 



File* 288A-WF-238943 



Date dictated N/A 



by SA 



This document contains neither recommendations nor conclusions of the FBI. It is the property of the FBI and is loaned to your agency; 
it and its contents are not to be distributed outside your agency. 



(Rev. 05-01-2008) 



UNCLASSIFIED 

FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION 



Precedence : ROUTINE 
To : Cyber 



Date: 



04/20/2009 



Attn : CIU -l/SSA 
SSA 



From: 



Washington Field 

Washington Field 
CR-17 / NVRA 
Contact : SA 



he 

b7C 
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Approved By: f 

Drafted By: 

Case ID #: 288A-WF-238943 

Title: UNSUB(S) ; 

US COURTS - VICTIM; 
COMPUTER INTRUSION 

Synopsis: To close case. 



(Closed) 



OTHER 



[ 



Details: For background, the U.S. Courts implemented a pilot 
project offering free access to federal court records through the 
PACER system at seventeen federal depository libraries. From 
September 4-22, 2008, PACER was accessed by computers from 
outside the library utilizing login information from two 
libraries participating in the pilot project. The login 
information was compromised at the Sacramento County Public Law 
Library and the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals Library. The 
two accounts were responsible for downloading more than eighteen 
million pages with an approximate value of $1.5 million. 

Investigation determined that the Amazon IP address 
used to access the PACER system bel ongs to Aaron Swartz. Swartz 
refused an interview with the FBI. | | 

| Swartz on his website pacer.resource.org, 
was interview Joy the FBI on April 15, 2009. Both Swartz and 



Twere interviewed by the New York Times, regarding the 



compromise of the PACER system 



ho 
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UNCLASSIFIED 



To: 
Re: 



UNCLASSIFIED 

Cyber From: Washington Field 
288A-WF-238943, 04/20/2009 



CCIPS Attorney- 



closed the office's case. 



Job 
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Based on the CCIPS closing, Washington Field is closing this case 
as of this communication. 



UNCLASSIFIED 

2 



UNCLASSIFIED 

To: Cyber From: Washington Field 
Re: 288A-WF-238943, 04/20/2009 



LEAD(s) : 

Set Lead 1: (Info) 

CYBER 

AT CIU-1 

Read and clear. 

♦♦ 



UNCLASSIFIED 

3